Laurel’s Perfect Manhattan

Perfect Manhattan

I have shared a Manhattan recipe before, and it’s a great recipe. But it is also a few years old, and as I’ve aged, my tastes and understanding of cocktails have changed. My friend was also lucky enough to stay in the Crowne Plaza Times Square Manhattan and experience the nightlife and have a Manhattan in Manhattan! She told me all about the cocktails they do there which inspired me to make some changes. That and I now tend to prefer cocktails that are less sweet. The “perfect” Manhattan reflects that. The perfect Manhattan replaces half of the sweet vermouth with dry vermouth. It’s a simple substitution, but it makes the difference between a cocktail that coats your mouth, and one that’s easy to sip without feeling icky.

Perfect Manhattan

Perfect Manhattan (makes 2)


  • 6 booze soaked cherries
  • 1/2 oz cherry-soaked whiskey (or whatever your cherries are packed in)
  • 4 oz rye, bourbon or other American whiskey (I prefer rye, Craig prefers Jack Daniels)
  • 1 oz sweet vermouth
  • 1 oz dry vermouth
  • 4-6 dashes bitters
  • Ice cubes


  • Get out 2 coupe, rocks, or martini glasses
  • Prepare your garnish. Spear 3 cherries on a cocktail stick. Place them into your glasses and set aside.
  • Start building your cocktail in a sturdy glass. Combine the cherry liquid, whiskey, vermouths, and bitters in the glass. If I’m cooking around making cocktails, this step often takes a few minutes, making adding the ice at the end especially important.
  • Add ice until the level of the ice reaches just past the top of the liquid.
  • Stir. If you have one of those fancy cocktail spoons, use that (I have been meaning to add one to my amazon cart for quite some time.)
  • The goal with the stirring is to make the liquor mixture cold. Once it feels very cold on the outside of the glass, pop a hawthorne strainer on your glass and strain the Manhattan into your prepared glasses.
  • Enjoy.


This recipe is so easy to scale. It’s essentially 2 parts whiskey, .5 parts each sweet and dry vermouth, and a couple dashes of bitters, plus some cherries.

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